In this I (architecturally) believe:
COLLABORATION + CO-DESIGN
All are designers and all have something to bring to the table. Whether brainstorming with colleagues, clients, residents, or any user of a project, I believe in the power of creating a shared vision and inviting multiple voices into the creative process. Each project is unique and we need different perspectives to ensure it responds to the variety of ways it will need to perform.
Integrated with this is the importance of expanding our agency as architects and designers and pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones by engaging in other fields of study and practice. Construction, engineering, urban planning, psychology, sociology, group facilitation, mental health, teaching, storytelling, art, marketing, sales, product design and manufacturing, politics, economics, and so much more. In taking a holistic view of our role, embracing risk and learning, our projects will be more rewarding for all.
Listening to the needs and wants of those who will use the space long after I've left. Learning about the experience they want when they walk into the building. Designing for the experience of the client, the resident, the user, instead of for myself or for an idea about a beautiful form in and of itself. I focus my design thinking on the feeling of the space, what it evokes in people, and why. Though both are connected, I believe the experience of looking through a window is more important than what the window looks like itself.
We, as architects, can design too much. We can solve the “problem” too well in that our clients and users of our buildings don’t have meaningful opportunities to choose how they interact with the spaces and how they adapt them for changed future use. Offering areas of openness where there is not a prescribed way to move through or use the space opens up a higher sense of engagement, participation, and ownership within an architectural experience. In this way, the users of the space finalize the design for themselves.
SIMPLICITY OF FORM + ECONOMY OF GESTURES
Doing more with less. Instead of trying to make so many design moves or make a project be too many things, my intention is to exercise restraint and simplify. Reserving significant gestures for special moments so that they are appreciated, and giving space to breathe in between.
I appreciate projects that feel real and I practice that awareness of material honesty. Walking through a stone colonnade and knowing it is stone vs. wondering if it is a synthetic material that just looks like stone are two very different experiences. I want to create authentic experiences.
SUSTAINABILITY + HIGH PERFORMANCE DESIGN
I strive to push the envelope with my project teams and clients on the environmental impact of our work. Early in house energy modeling along with kickoff MEP consultant coordination can make a big difference in the energy consumption of our built projects. Embodied carbon knowledge, EPD/HPD material studies, and ethical supply chain specifications have an effect on our environment and the health and equity in our communities.
EQUITY + DIVERSITY + INCLUSION + JUSTICE
As architects and designers I believe that we have a responsibility to engage in social justice issues and to use our knowledge and skills to increase equity in our communities. Confronting and challenging white supremacy, racism, sexism, and more within our own practices and processes, and in the projects that we create is necessary to truly promote the public health, safety, and welfare that our profession is obligated to protect.
RISK TAKING + FAILING FORWARD
I believe in questioning the status quo and taking risks when it may yield new insights. Because each architectural project is unique, the opportunity for new questions and new approaches is ever present. Being open to and encouraging of "failure" means giving ourselves the chance to truly experiment.
Connected with this is the importance of slowing down at various stages in a project, taking time to rise, reflect, and learn from successes and mistakes. Post occupancy evaluations are an imperative tool in perpetually reinventing and refining our practice.
GRAD SCHOOL ONLINE PORTFOLIO
Adam L Buehler